Nick Santino has been working at full force ever since A Rocket To The Moon came to an end, and PropertyOfZack recently spoke with the singer for a new interview. We chatted with Nick about starting over with The Northern Wind, what it’s been like transitioning from Rocket to his new project, more music in the future, and much more. Check out the interview below!
So you’ve officially begun your solo career as Nick Santino and The Northern Wind. Just to start, why add the tagline to the end of your name? Did you want it to be less of a solo effort and feel more like a full thing, or what?
I wanted to do just my name, obviously Nick Santino, but I thought adding a cool thing – a moniker at the end was something a bit different. Like Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers and Butch Walker and The Black Widows or Ryan Adams and The Cardinals. I hope that at some point I’ll start touring with a backing band. I don’t know, I think the Northern Wind will be cool because it’s both a solo name, Nick Santino, and an artist name, The Northern Wind. I think it’s a cool name that means something as well – I’m obviously a northern boy. I’m from Boston, but the kind of music that I play is sort of like a southern thing, a country kind of alt sound. I don’t usually hear “Southern Wind” being thrown around. I think “The Northern Wind” kind of gives it that feeling of a kind of a folky thing. It’s was just kind of a name I’ve been having and it’s been sitting in my phone for three years, in my notes. So I was like, if I’m can to use it, I’m going to use it.
You released a first EP a few months after A Rocket To The Moon sort of announced they were going to be breaking up. When were those songs first recorded?
I recorded them at the beginning of this year. A lot of them have been written – they’re like three or four years old now. They’re just kind of songs that I’ve been sitting on that I recorded or wrote a while ago or years ago, and never did anything with because they weren’t really the A Rocket [To The Moon] sound, they were just my own songs that I wrote myself and choose a different sound. So we could never use them, and not everybody was into them. So now that I am able to release music on my own and under my own name, I kind of wanted to put the songs up that I like and that I want to do. So I dug up all the old songs from my files on my desktop – my Mac – and kind of dusted them off and gave them a little update and re-recorded them. And I think they’re pretty cool. They’re a couple of years old which is kind of sweet.
I think it’s interesting to step back and realize that the last A Rocket To The Moon record was delayed a full year so I’m sure you just had a ton of time to write new music.
Pretty much. All of the songs were written in down time from Rocket pretty much – when I’m home for breaks and yeah that whole weird gap. I just kind of sat there in the house writing songs. Now I can actually use them, which is cool.
So I’m sure you have a ton. Is that why you decided to release this second EP so soon? Because there might be a ton of recorded music?
Yeah. That and I think that Rocket fans – I mean we were signed. So we couldn’t put out music whenever we wanted to, we had to put out music when the label said it was okay. We really didn’t get to put out that much music over the course of five years that we were a band. It’s kind of stupid. The whole point that we were in a band is to play music but we could only play music when we’re allowed to play music? And allowed to make music? So over the course of five years we’ve put out two full lengths. That’s pathetic. And it was all because of the music business and everything. So I kind of want to show those fans and the people that may be skeptical of switching over from Rocket to me or anything – I kind of want to show them that I’m going to be putting out music as often as I can. You know what I mean? It’s something that they maybe wish that Rocket would have done. But now they can finally see that because I’m going to do it whenever I can. So I put out two EPs in the course of like 2 months. That’s already more than Rocket put out in the course of two months. Now there’s just a freedom to release music. So I just want people to know that. If they’re like “Oh. Nick’s doing a solo thing. I don’t really want to go listen to it because I’m still hung up on Rocket.” Yeah I’m doing a solo thing, but there’s going to be a lot more music than Rocket has ever released.
More than anything, is it just kind of liberating? I know that how Rocket came to an end wasn’t how anyone would have wanted because of how the music industry works, unfortunately. So does it liberate you as an artist but also give a “screw you” to the traditional music industry?
Exactly. Maybe I’m not going to be selling out Madison Square Garden next weekend or anything, but I’m happy to be releasing music whenever I can without having anybody breathing down my neck.
So you’re going out on your first solo tour in two days I think, with This Century. Obviously, you’ve toured all of these cities before with rocket, but this is going to be your first time on your own. Is that as equally exciting as it is nerve-racking?
Yeah, because I have fears and I have excitement. I’m excited to be getting out on the road. Like I don’t know what it’s like to tour without the other three guys. It’s going to be interesting to not have Halvo [Eric Halvorsen] joking around and all of the nonsense that goes on. But it will be cool because I feel like I can finally be myself and be a human being – like be my one-man show that I am. My concerns, obviously, are people will see me and an acoustic guitar – people not listening or paying attention because it’s just a dude with an acoustic guitar on stage. I’m hoping that it’s just not all people being like “Play Baby Blue Eyes! Play Dakota!” the whole time. It’s like, come on! You’ve heard those songs for the past five years. Let me try something different.